The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved the 'Establishment of Sheikh Hasina Cantonment, Barisal' project to be set up at Lebukhali along the Payra River involving an es-timated cost of Tk 1,699 crore.
The approval came from the regular weekly Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room here with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of 10 projects were approved today involving an overall cost of Tk 3,333 crore. "All the estimated project cost will come from the national exchequer."
He said the Sheikh Hasina Cantonment will be set up on a 1,532-acre land and the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Defence by June 2021.
Of the total estimated project cost of Tk 3,333.66 crore, Tk 3,318.39 crore will come from the government's fund while the rest of Tk 15.27 crore from organizations' own funds, Mustafa Kamal said.
Of the approved 10 projects, nine are new while one is revised one.
Mentioning the background of setting up the Sheikh Hasina Cantonment, the Planning Minister said there is no cantonment in the country's southern region, especially in Barisal and Patuakhali, while natural disasters often wreck havoc on the region, which is very important strategically and on national security grounds.
In case of any natural calamity, the government has to take support from the Jessore Cantonment which is around 200 kms away. Since the independence, support has been being provided from the Jessore Cantonment to the local administrations of some 21 neighboring districts during any disaster and for other purposes which has now become almost impossible.
As per the Forces Goal 2030, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 25, 2014 approved a proposal for setting up a cantonment at Lebukhali in the middle of Barisal and Patuakhali districts.
The proposed cantonment will be set up on some a 1,532-acre of land with 567 acres already being procured under the revenue budget. So, there is a need to acquire the rest of some 965 acres of land.
The main objectives of setting up the project are to establish a modern cantonment with all necessary physical infrastructures in line with the Forces Goal 2030, strengthening national defence in the coastal areas and thus build a skilled, well-trained and professional army which is capable of upholding the country's independence and sovereignty, providing national security and protecting the country from external attack.
The Ecnec meeting also approved the 'Dredging at outer bar of Mongla Port Channel' project involving an esti-mated cost of Tk 712.50 crore. The Mongla Port Authority under the Shipping Ministry will implement the pro-ject by December 2019.
The main objective of the project is to increase the navigability of the Mongla Port Channel for handling ships with 10.5-metre draft. For this, there will be dredging of some 103.95 lakh cubic metre of earth in the outer bar area of the port channel alongside conducting supervision by the hydraulic experts and evaluation of the impact of modeling.
Mongla Port Authority officials said at present, ships with more than 8.5 metre draft cannot go through the outer bar area of the port channel and once the project is implemented, ships with 10.5 metre draft will be able to go through the outer bar.
Besides, the use of Mongla Port is expected to be increased manifold due to the construction of the Padma Bridge along with rail link, establishment of railway tracks from Khulna to Mongla and construction of Khan Jahan Ali Airport, 1320 MW coal-fired power plant at Rampal, and establishment of special economic zone near the Port area.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister emphasised setting up more dual-fuel power plants alongside strengthening the countrywide cultural activities, the Planning Minister said.
The other projects approved at the meeting are Shalikha (Magura)-Arpara-Kaliganj (Jhenidah) district highway widening and strengthening project with Tk 109.80 crore, Construction of Goma Bridge over Ranmagati River on Barisal (Dinarerpul)-Laxmipasha-Dumki district highway with Tk 57.62 crore, Greater Khulna and Jessore district small irrigation development project with Tk 126.98 crore, Greater Bogra and Dinajpur district small irrigation development project with Tk 89.94 crore, Construction of Bheramara (Bangladesh)-Bahrampur (In-dia) 2nd 400 ki double circuit transmission line (Bangladesh portion) with Tk 189.31 crore, Extension and com-pleting the unfinished works of Jatiya Chittroshala abong Jatiya Sangeet O Nrittakola Kendro with Tk 137.96 crore, Establishment of Jhenidah Textile Engineering College (3rd revised) with Tk 119.86 crore and Estab-lishment of Institute of Bioequivalence Studies and Pharmaceutical Sciences with Tk 90.69 crore.
Ministers and state ministers attended the meeting while Planning Commission members and secretaries con-cerned were present.
Ecnec approves cantt project in Barisal